Archive for March, 2009

Taxes Done

March 31, 2009

Got the taxes done today.  Our tax guy got things so it wasn’t quite as painful as it might have been.  So I decided to treat myself to a little taste of spring.  When my Honey is overseas…..the flowers “just cuz” are in short supply.  So….

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They kinda match the sweatshirt that WyoNella got me in Ferndale.

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Along with the cool socks……….img_1162

I took it extra easy today with dinner.  Fixed Swiss Steak.  We all have our own recipes for that.  I just mentioned it in hope it might ring a bell with someone who is thinking…”What the hell do I fix for dinner??”

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And here is one more touch of spring.  Enjoy

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A Quiet Evening……Yeah Right

March 30, 2009

Well, after the flurry of baking yesterday, I thought I would fix an easy dinner and call it good.  HA…..  Had dinner delivered to MIL, girlie and I had eaten, she was in the shower and I had finished dishes.  I plop down at the computer to read my favorite blogs and……POW.  I clicked on Batter Spattered and there it was.  I don’t know…the blog was something about life being like football, or the other way around, or…..oh, I don’t know.  All I could see was her Caramel Apple Cake and it hit me the same way it did her.  I gotta make it NOW!!!!! 

I run down  the ingredient list and I have everything….including the apples.  What is up with that???  OK..melt the butter in the pan while the oven preheats.  Brown sugar….brown sugar…brown sugar…what the……   Guess I’m out.  Oh great…now what.  I call MIL.  She has brown sugar…did I tell you what a wonderful woman she is????  I run over to her house and grab the brown sugar.  The cake is in the oven as we speak….and boy, does it smell wonderful.

Any way ….here was dinner.  Girlie had corn on the cob instead of cucumber salad.  I did experiment a bit with the salad and instead of just salt, pepper, dill and vinegar, I added a little soy sauce.  Pretty good.

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So here is Molly’s recipe and I agree with her….you only need one apple.

Caramel Apple Cake

Makes one 9-inch cake

  • 3T plus 3/4 cup butter, divided 
  • 1 1/3 cups packed brown sugar, divided 
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup walnuts or pecans
  • 1 large Granny Smith apple – peeled, cored and cut into wedges
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 cup water
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. In a 9-inch pan, melt 3 tablespoons butter. Sprinkle 1/3 cup brown sugar (set aside the rest for later) and 1/4 teaspoon of the cinnamon. Sprinkle in a small handful of nuts then chop the rest of the nuts and set aside. Arrange the apple wedges in concentric circles or other decorative pattern of your choice.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the dry ingredients including the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, cream 3/4 cup butter and the remaining 1 cup of brown sugar until smooth. Stir in water. Add flour mixture and stir to combine. Add nuts and stir to combine.
  5. Spread batter evenly over apples and bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 30 minutes.

And here ya go…….

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So guess I will have a piece and read my new book……….

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NASCAR, Baking and multitasking

March 29, 2009

Woke up this morning to the wind howling and a mix of rain and snow….a light wintry mix…I believe is the term.  It was sure a good day for soup, so that was the first thing I started with.

Beef and Bean Soup

1.5 lbs stew meat

2 tbsp olive oil

2 handsful of small carrots chopped

3 stalks celery chopped

1 small onion chopped

6 cloves garlic chopped

1 1/2 tsp chopped rosemary leaves

1 1/2 tsp dried oregano

2  32oz cartons of beef broth

1  28 oz can chopped tomatoes

2 15 oz can white beans

Brown meat in olive oil and then remove from pan.  Add chopped veggies to pan and cook until soft.  Return meat and add remaining ingredients.  Let simmer until everything is tender and enjoy.

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Then caught a ride to town with MIL.  Had to get the truck from the Ford dealer.  It quit us twice coming back from CA, but started and got us home.  Can the dealer figure out what is wrong??  Oh, hell, no.  So I’ll drive it and hope whatever gremlin was there is gone.  Yeah right.   IM with my honey till noon and then to baking.  The weather hasn’t improved, but at least the wintry mix has quit.  Oh well, its almost time for green, green green.  First project is pie.  I found key limes on sale, so that was a project.

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KEY LIME PIE

1 pre made graham cracker crust

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup lime juice

zest of however many limes it took to get the 1/2 cup juice

2 egg yolks (save whites for meringue)

1 egg

Combine condensed milk, juice, zest, egg yolks and egg.  Pour into pie shell and refrigerate for and hour.  Beat egg whites and 4 tbsp of sugar to make meringue.  Spread meringue to edges of crust and bake at 350 for 15 min or until meringue is brown.

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I have to give most of this away.  It’s toooooo good.  And while I was IMing with my Honey, I watched Paula.  Orange brownies????  Hmmmmm….I have and orange or two in the fruit bowl.

ORANGE BROWNIES

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure orange extract
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1 recipe Orange Cream Cheese Frosting, recipe follows

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 13 by 9 by 2-inch pan.

Orange Brownies:

Stir together flour, granulated sugar, and salt in a bowl. Add butter, eggs, orange extract, and orange zest. Using a handheld electric mixer, beat until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until light golden brown and set. Remove from oven, allow to cool and pierce entire cake with a fork. Spread the Orange Cream Cheese Frosting over completely cooled brownies. Cut into squares.

Orange Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 4 tablespoons softened butter
  • 1 (1-pound) box confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice

In a large mixing bowl, whip the butter and cream cheese together with a hand-held electric mixer. Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until it is all combined and smooth. Beat in the orange zest and juice. Spread over brownies.

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Another batch to share.  Of course about that time the cake pans I have been watching on ebay were coming up for the end of auction.  While I was watching that, my honey is emailing me.  He had gotten pieces parts for his new scooter…better known as the “Geezer Glide”.  He was excited about the good deal and then had insomnia.  I IMed with him and watched my pans.  Got my pans and then sent him to bed.  After all, it was 1130PM his time and he gets up about 5AM.  Well, now something for the kids.

It was a box mix for cupcakes and 7 minute frosting.  I watched Sandra Lee this morning and decided to give it a try.img_1152

Don’t they look fun??  Kids ought to enjoy them.  Of course by this time the snow has started and is coming down sideways.  The 2 pair of Robins that have come to the front yard and willow tree are sorry they came back so early.img_1148

The whole day I have been smelling ripe bananas.  One look at the fruit bowl told me I had 4 too-brown-for-the-kids-to-eat bananas.  I knew BrazenBites had sent me a recipe for banana muffins.  She claimed they were ugly.  Just the thing to try today.  I looked all through my emails.  I had lost the recipe …..again.  I emailed her for it.  By the time I got a return email, I had found the recipe for Chocolate Banana muffins and had the batter whipped up.  Next time.

CHOCOLATE CHIP BANANA MUFFINS

1 1/2 cups mashed over ripe banana

2/3 cup oil.. I used canola

1 egg beaten

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

2 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar

2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa

1 Tbsp baking powder

1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Combine sugar, oil, bananas and vanilla.  Combine remaining dry ingredients and then add to banana mixture until just combined.  Fold in chips.  Fill muffn cups 2/3 full.  Bake at 425 for 15-20 min.  I used on regular muffin tin and then a mini tin and almost filled it.

 

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I had a fun day…a busy day and did survive the wind and snow.  BTW…my driver ended up 3rd at Martinsville…my favorite track.  Go #14 Old Spice/Office Depot Chevrolet.  Go Tony!!!!!!!!!  And yes…it’s still snowing.  It’s spring time in Ideeho.

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Tamales coming out of my ears

March 28, 2009

I am not a tamale lover…its the corn meal.  However, my Honey loves them, so I promised I’d try to learn how to make them.  I tried one and just couldn’t do it.  I will make my MIL the guinea pig on this one.  This is what I started with.

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And this is what I ended up with.  And I have one batch still streaming and one more to go in the steamer.

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So, just talked to MIL.  I used the wrong kind of flour.  I used flour for tortillas.  Oh well, next time will try to find the right kind.  She said she will try them any way.  At least the meat is yummy.  Here’s the recipe for that.  I still have about a third left and used a package of husks…if that helps with amounts.

TAMALE MEAT

4 lbs beef roast (if its fatty, remove fat)

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1 tsp olive oil

1 onion chopped

2 jalapenos, chopped and seeds removed

1 Tbsp chili powder

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 garlic clove minced

1 5oz bottle hot sauce…your choice

2 cups beef stock

Salt and pepper roast and then brown in olive oil.  Transfer to slow cooker and add remaining ingredients.  Cook on low overnite or until meat can be shredded.  Cool and shred meat.  Meat can be used for tamales, taco or enchiladas or just to eat.

I shall let ya know how they taste to MIL.  I will let her be the expert.

Singin’ the Blues

March 26, 2009

Well, I did something tonite that I wouldn’t have bet my life on doing before.  While in CA Randy offered me a recipe for blue cheese sauced-up…is that a word??….potatoes.  The thought of it gave me the full body shiver, but my Honey loves blue cheese so I copied down the recipe.  Found some almost out dated Denmark Blue in the markdown bin…was this a meant to be thing.  Ok….I’m cooking for in-laws and can always pawn it off on Daughter #2 and her family.  OMG….OMG….OMG.  they are soooooo good.  Thank you Randy.

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Before …..and after…………..

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And here is the recipe…aptly renamed….

Randy Sings the Blues

8 med spuds boiled, peeled and diced

1/2 C butter

1/2 C flour minus 2 Tbsp

1 C milk

1 C cream

1 C blue cheese crumbled

1/3 C bread crumbs

Melt butter, lightly brown flour add milk and cream and cook until thickened then add cheese and stir until melted.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Combine with potatoes and place in sprayed casserole dish.  Top with bread crumbs.  Bake uncovered at 375 for 25 min.

Holy cow that was good.  Oh…and for the meat.  I rubbed a pork loin roast with honey mustard and covered with phyllo dough and bake.  Using dijon mustard works well too.  And now thinking back, we used to bake a beef roast the same way.  Whichever meat you use, it sure comes out moist and tender.

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COCONUT CAKE UPDATE:

Everybody that has tried it, has loved it.  I did try a cupcake and the combination is plenty coconutty.  I wouldn’t order it or fight anybody for the last piece of coconut cake, but it wasn’t as bad as I remembered.

My Back Hurts Tonite

March 25, 2009

No snow yet today.  The weatherman lied…again.  We shall see what happens after dark.  The are still saying 2-3 inches, but we shall see.  In the mean time, I thought I had to do three days projects in one…truth be told..didn’t want to clean the rest of the house. 

So….got meat in the crockpot to use in tamales.  I don’t like them….its the cornmeal, but my Honey loves them.  So I told him I would give it a go.  The meat smells wonderful.  Hope I can get the rest of the tamales together right.

Then I’ve been thinking about fried chicken, mashed taters and gravy for about a week now.  So….got the chicken soaking in buttermilk, hot sauce and spices.  I have a houseful of  grandkids tonite and they love chicken legs.

Then I made lemon cookies.  They had to sit in the fridge.

LEMON COOKIES

3/4 C soft butter

3 Tbsp sugar

2 tsp lemon juice

1 1/4 C  four

1/2 C corn starch

1 tsp lemon zest

Cream butter and sugar.  Beat in lemon juice.  Combine dry ingredients and gradually add to cream mixture and mix well.  Shape dough into a 1 1/2 inch roll and refridgerate for an hour.  Unwrap an cut into 1/4 inch slices.  Bake at 350 for 8-10 min. Cool completely on racks.

LEMON FROSTING

1/4 c soft butter

1 c powdered sugar

2 tsp lemon juice

1 tp lemon zest

Combine and spread on cooled cookies.  Let stand until set and then store in airtight container.  If they last that long.  The cookies are dainty little shortbread type cookies.  If you don’t intend on frosting them, double the zest, as they are not very lemony.

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On to the pepper jelly.  The original recipe that I got from Randy and BrazenBites called for Pamonas Pectin.  Find that in Pocatello Idaho…yeah right.  So had to do a bit of adapting.  I don’t really like messing with recipes made with pectin, but I got lucky and it worked.  Jelled.  I’m amazed.  The only thing that I would do different is use two jalapenos instead of one.  It wasn’t quite hot enough for me, but it might get hotter as it sits.

PEPPER JELLY

1 each yellow, orange, red, jalapeno pepper seeded

2 cups vinegar (recipe called for apple cider, I used white wine)

6 cups sugar

2  3oz pouches liquid pectin

Puree peppers in 1 cup vinegar in blender.  Do not strain puree.  Combine puree, remaining vinegar and sugar in large pan.  Bring to boil and boil for 10 minutes.  Add pectin, bring back to a boil and boil for 1 minute.  Jar and process as per instructions on pectin package.  I got 7 -8oz jars.

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Then on to brownies.  One of the grandkids very favorites.  This is a box mix with chocolate butter cream frosting and a little bit of pretties.  Thought I had better get a pic before they all disappeared.  Like I said…kids love em.

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Now on to dinner.  Chicken, taters and gravy.  We all have our favorite recipes.  I double dip my chicken in buttermilk and hot sauce then in flour.  We all enjoyed…..even the in laws enjoyed.

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I also made sourdough biscuits.  The recipe another day.  I’m pooped.  Just let the dog in.  It’s snowing.  Aaaaaaaahh…spring in Idaho.

My New Favorite Sammich

March 24, 2009

 

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Now how is that for a sandwich….better known as a sammich around here.  Chicken salad, red onion, sharp cheddar cheese(preferably Loletta Cheese), all grilled on sour dough.  YUMMY

CHICKEN SALAD

cooked chicken, shredded or chopped

chopped celery

chopped or slivered almonds

equal amounts mayo and sour cream

dill, salt pepper to taste

The amounts depend on how much chicken you start out with.  You can make it as dry or moist as you like it, but do make it and enjoy.

Coconut Cake and More Snow

March 23, 2009

Made something today that makes me wonder if the aliens had taken me.  Coconut in any form is yucky and I was so out of my comfort zone.  However, Daughter #2 wanted a coconut cake for her birthday and let’s face it …..we will do just about anything for our kids.  So I told her that as soon as I got back I would get started.  Today was windy and snowy…just a white kind of day to make a white cake.  In fact, I made two batches.  One in cupcake form.

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I used Paula Deen’s Jamie’s Coconut cake for the cake, filling and frosting.  I will have to let you know how it tastes later.  I did sample the batter for the cake.  I must admit that I was a bit disappointed.  It didn’t taste coconutty, even though it did have coconut milk in it.  I think that if I make it again, I would use regular milk and use coconut extract.  The rest of  it will have to wait for the critique from a coconut eater.  If you decide to make cupcakes, only fill the cups half full instead of the normal 2/3’s.  Otherwise you will have the mess I did on my first batch.  Sorry… too pissed to take a pic.  Here’s the recipe.

Cake:

  • 2 sticks butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups sifted self-rising flour
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Filling:

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 cup flaked sweetened coconut

7-Minute Frosting:

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar or 1 tablespoon white corn syrup
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 to 3 cups flaked sweetened coconut

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 3 (9-inch) cake pans.

Using an electric mixer, cream butter until fluffy. Add sugar and continue to cream well for 6 to 8 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour and coconut milk alternately to creamed mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Add vanilla and continue to beat until just mixed.

Divide batter equally among prepared pans. Level batter in each pan by holding pan 3 or 4-inches above counter, then dropping it flat onto counter. Do this several times to release air bubbles and assure you of a more level cake.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until done. Cool in pans 5 to 10 minutes. Invert cakes onto cooling racks.

Filling:

Stir together sugar, sour cream, milk, and coconut in a bowl until well blended. Place the first cake layer onto pedestal. Using the wrong end of a wooden spoon, poke holes approximately 1-inch apart until entire cake has been poked. Spread a third of filling mixture on cake layer. Top with second layer, repeat process. Top with last layer and repeat process again.

Cook’s Note: As each layer is stacked, stick them with toothpicks to prevent cake from shifting.

Frosting:

Place sugar, cream of tartar or corn syrup, salt, water, and egg whites in the top of a double boiler. Beat with a handheld electric mixer for 1 minute. Place pan over boiling water, being sure that boiling water does not touch the bottom of the top pan. Beat constantly on high speed with electric mixer for 7 minutes. Beat in vanilla. Frost the top and sides of the cake. Sprinkle top and sides of cake with coconut

I will keep you informed

Just back from Humboldt County

March 21, 2009

Had a wonderful time and went shopping lots.  Will be back on track in a few days.  Here’s a few goodies.

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Got alot of local foods.  They have a wonderful restaurant supply/bulk foods store…..Cash and Carry in Bayshore.  Too many choices there.  I could have got into big trouble.img_1113

BrazenBites brought goodies from Portland.  Wonderful coffee and ginger Vodka…locally made.  Isn’t the bottle outstanding?????  Ginger cake and glaze ready to go.

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And of course no trip would be complete with out…….

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And of course we had our disasters too.  This was a lemon cake made in too much of a hurry.  Inspite of the horrible look,  it was enjoyed by one and all.

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 Went and looked at a little bistro for sale that I fell in love with.  Guess I need the book….Running a Resturant for Dummies.  My dream.

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 And of course many thanks to Randy and Beth for opening their home for us and spoiling us rotten while we where there.

Sunshine Update

March 10, 2009

Karen of LemonLadies.com sent me the recipe for her wonderful marmalade.  I took the time and some of the lemons and made a batch.  It jelled and tastes wonderful, but not quite as good as hers.

 

img_1068It did turn out pretty and I would include the recipe, but didn’t ask Karen permission. 

TRIPLE LEMON CAKE

This cake is a combination of different recipes and ideas.  The cake recipe came from Bobbie.  She works at Nana’s in New Boston Texas, where we spent 3 weeks this summer while my Honey went to school.  Her recipe is originally orange, but when she gave it to me she said to change it to lemon with the same amounts of everything.  The lemon filling started out as Ina Garten’s Lemon Curd Tart recipe, but I had egg yolks left over from a couple of other recipes, so used them and changed her origninal.  The frosting is mine and very simple.  I did run low on powdered sugar and although it frosted nicely when it sat at room temp, the frosting started to slide off the cake.  What a mess.  Please change anything you think would work.

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Lemon Layer Cake

2 cups sugar

1 cup softened unsalted butter

5 room temperature eggs

2 tbsp grated lemon zest

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

2 1/2 cups self rising flour

Grease and flour 2 9 inch round cake pans.  Oven out 350.  Cram sugar and butter.  Add eggs one at a time then lemon zest.  Add flour and lemon juice alternately.  Pour into pans and bake 22-25 minutes.  Cool in pans 15 minutes and them remove to cool completely.

As you can see, my layers sunk in the middle.  I have no idea why.  High altitude does strange things to layer cakes.  Thank goodness for the filling.

Lemon Filling

4 room temp lemons

1 1/2 cup sugar

1 stick butter

6 egg yolks or 4 whole large eggs

1/8 tsp salt

Remove zest from all the lemons (I used a micro plane, so if you use a zester, combine with sugar in food processor until finely minced) and combine with sugar.  Juice all the lemons.  Cream butter and sugar mixture, then add eggs one at a time.  Then add lemon juice and salt.  Pour mixture into sauce pan and cook over medium heat until thickened.  Remove from heat and cool.

Frosting

1/2 stick softened unsalted butter

2 tbsp lemon zest

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

1 bag or 2 lbs powdered sugar

Combine

Used filling between layers and then frost.  If my layers hadn’t sunk, I would have split them and had four layers.  Oh, well, next time.  May look rather sloppy, but it sure tasted good.

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